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The Saptapadi (Sanskrit for seven steps/feet, c.f. Latin cognates septem+pedes) or the saat pheras is perhaps the most important component of Vedic Hindu weddings. The couple conduct seven circuits of the Holy Fire (Agni), which is considered a witness to the vows they make each other. In some regions, sashes worn by the bride and groom are tied together for this ceremony. Elsewhere, the groom holds the bride's right hand in his own right hand. Each circuit of the consecrated fire is led by either the bride or the groom, varying by community and region. Usually, the bride leads the groom in the first circuit. In North India, the first six circuits are led by the bride, and the final one by the groom. In Central India, the bride leads the first three or four circuits. With each circuit, the couple makes a specific vow to establish some aspect of a happy relationship and household for each other.

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Additional Photos by Nilotpal Patra (nilotpal_patra) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 206 W: 67 N: 306] (1688)
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